The Highway Code has been an essential, official guide for road users in the United Kingdom since 1931. But recently, it’s undergone significant updates that you should be aware of if you’re a driver — even more so if you’re involved in grey fleet management.

These changes will help to make sure that your grey fleet drivers are adhering to the correct rules and regulations. It will keep them safe too.

Let’s explore what these changes entail and how they aim to enhance protection for all road users, with particular attention to the most vulnerable.


Prioritising vulnerable road users

One of the most significant changes in the updated Highway Code is the increased emphasis on the safety of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders. This revision recognises the fact that these groups face greater risks than motorists, and encourages all drivers to exercise greater caution. It reiterates the importance of sharing road space responsibly and acknowledges the duty of drivers to reduce risk to others.


Revised hierarchy of road users

The updated Highway Code introduces a ‘hierarchy of road users’. A crucial development, this prioritises those most at risk in the event of a collision. The hierarchy places pedestrians, particularly children, older adults, and disabled people, at the top.

This approach does not remove the need for all road users to behave responsibly but ensures that those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others.


Stricter rules on mobile phone use

The updated Code also includes stricter rules on the use of mobile phones. It expands the existing ban on texting or making calls while driving to include holding and using a phone in any capacity. This change reflects the increasing distractions posed by smartphones and addresses a critical factor in many road accidents. Drivers are now required to use hands-free devices if they wish to use their phone while driving.


Enhanced road positioning guidelines

The new guidelines provide clearer advice on safe road positioning for cyclists and drivers. For cyclists, the Code advises riding in the centre of the lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic, and at the approach to junctions. For drivers, it emphasises the importance of giving at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph and even more space at higher speeds.


New rules for junctions

The updates include clearer guidance for navigating junctions safely. There’s a new emphasis on the ‘Dutch Reach’ method, encouraging drivers to use their far hand to open car doors after parking. This method naturally turns the driver’s body towards the window, helping to spot approaching cyclists and pedestrians. The Code also now stipulates that at junctions, drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which the driver is turning.


Smart motorways guidance

The revisions offer updated guidance on driving on smart motorways. These motorways, which use technology to manage traffic flow, are becoming increasingly common in the UK. The new guidance includes specifics on:

  • How to use refuge areas;
  • The importance of not driving in lanes closed by a red ‘X’ and
  • What to do in the event of a breakdown in a smart motorway.


Emphasising the role of grey fleet drivers

The latest revisions in the Highway Code place a heightened emphasis on the responsibilities of grey fleet drivers.

It’s imperative for these drivers to be aware of the updated regulations, as their compliance is not only a matter of personal safety but also of legal and professional accountability. Organisations must ensure their grey fleet drivers are well-informed and regularly updated on these changes.


DVLA checks for employers

One of the critical aspects of managing a grey fleet is conducting regular DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) checks.

These checks are crucial for employers to ensure that their employees’ driving licences are valid and up to date. The updated Highway Code has made it clear that the responsibility of ensuring the roadworthiness and legal compliance of grey fleet vehicles lies not just with the drivers but also with the employers.


Stay up to date with Safe2Drive

Navigating the roads safely and efficiently requires a thorough understanding of these Highway Code updates. Recognising and abiding by these updated rules is essential for domestic and international drivers alike, as well as businesses managing diverse fleets. At Safe2Drive, we are dedicated to leading the industry in road safety and compliance.

With over 20 years of experience, we offer expert advice and innovative solutions for Highway Code training, driver licence checks, systems integration, and comprehensive fleet management services. Our goal is to ensure that every journey, whether for business or pleasure, adheres to the latest standards set by the UK Highway Code, guaranteeing safety and compliance on the road.

Contact our team today to stay ahead of the most recent Highway Code updates and how they impact your driving and fleet management needs.